Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a Great Match with Beef Wellington

We tried a couple of Beef Wellingtons from Bakers of Nailsea, our local butcher and we watched them being prepared in the shop.

A fillet steak is placed on a sheet of pastry and pâté with duxelles is spread over it. The steak is then wrapped in the pastry.  OK not the most sophisticated Wellington, but all we needed to do was pop them in the oven for an easy meal. We served with sautéed potatoes and green beans tossed in garlic butter and lemon juice.2016-03-20 18.37.14 2016-03-20 18.49.23

Our wine choice was a bottle of H. Valrasque Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2014, a full-bodied French red blend from Tesco.

We detected black fruits on the nose, with red and black fruits on the palate and a hint of spice and chocolate on the finish.  Probably not the best example of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but still a very good match with the Beef Wellington.

Aussie & French Reds Great with Beef Carbonnade

2015-12-18 19.02.38We tried Beef Carbonnade from the Slow Cook Book.  Cubed beef is slow-cooked in a mixture of shallots, seasoning, garlic, sugar, nutmeg, bouquet garni and beer.  We used a can of Hobgoblin.

Slices of French bread spread with Dijon mustard are added halfway through the cooking time. These soak into the pot and enhance the gravy.  Parsley is sprinkled over the top at the end and we served the carbonnade with a jacket potato.  A very enjoyable meal.

We opened a bottle of Prospector Shiraz 2013, a full-bodied Australian red from Naked Wines.  There were blackberry fruits on the nose and the palate delivered a creamy vanilla sweetness and rich, smooth black fruits.  The wine was a very good match with the meal.

We enjoyed the leftovers of this carbonnade with a bottle of Reserve de Pierre 2013, a medium-bodied Southern French red also from Naked Wines.  This blend of Grenache and Syrah displayed nice legs in the glass, a red berry creamy sweetness and a smooth finish with a hint of spice.  Another very good match.

Australian Red Blend is Great with Pulled Pork Fajitas

We made pulled pork fajitas by loading some tortilla wraps with Tesco‘s BBQ pulled pork, which is slow cooked pork shoulder with a BBQ glaze and a hickory BBQ sauce.  We then added grated Cheddar, guacamole, sour cream and shredded lettuce.  Tasty.

We opened a bottle of Ballingarry Estate, Clare Valley Shiraz/Mataro/Grenache 2009 from the Sunday Times Wine Club.

This wine was a lovely inky black in the glass. We detected black fruits on the nose, followed by an initially sweet palate, spicy black fruits and a long chocolaty finish.  A moreish wine and a very good match with the fajitas.

A Southern French Red Works Well with Wolf Berner Sausages

We bought some Wolf Berner Sausages from Costco. These are frankfurter-style sausages stuffed with Emmental cheese and wrapped in bacon. We decided to grill them on the barbecue and serve with a potato salad, corn on the cob and pickled gherkins.

The sausages were alright, but a bit salty for us. We also didn’t detect much cheese.

We paired the meal with a bottle of La Rectorie Côtes du Vivarais 2013, a medium-bodied Southern French red blend from Waitrose.2015-06-10 18.36.28

The wine had a perfumed nose, with red fruit flavours and a slightly spicy finish. An easy drinking wine that was a good match with the food.

A Minervois is Very Good with a Minced Beef and Root Vegetable Stew

2014-11-06 18.01.45We enjoyed a home-made warming beef stew that was perfect for a November evening.

We cooked minced beef with carrots, turnip, swedes, potatoes, onion, beef stock , bouquet garni, bay leaves and basil.

Lighter stews like this often pair well with medium-bodied French reds and so we opened a bottle of Benjamin Darnault Minervois 2012, a southern French red blend of Grenache and Syrah from Naked Wines.

We enjoyed the wine’s red fruits and a slight sweetness that had an affinity with the root vegetables.  There was also a little spiciness on the finish.

We thought the wine was a very good match with the stew.

French Preferred to Spanish Red with a Navarin of Lamb

IMG_0608We had a family meal and cooked Navarin of Lamb from the Slow Cook Book.

This springtime stew contains cubed lamb, baby onions, tomato puree, ground cloves, bouquet garni, stock, small new potatoes, turnips, tomatoes, baby carrots, french beans and a parsley garnish.  To be honest we have tasted better Lamb Navarin recipes.  This one was a bit bland for us.

We paired two red wines with this dish.  First, The Society’s Corbières 2012, a full-bodied Southern French red blend of Carignan and Grenache from the Wine Society.  We tasted strawberry fruits and a sweetness that had an affinity with the turnips and carrots.  We found the finish smooth.  A good match.

Second up was a bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva 2008, a medium-bodied Spanish red from Costco.  The wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo and the black fruits and chocolatey edge were also good with the stew.   However, we all thought the Corbières was the better match.

A Southern French Red is Good with a Simple Beef Stew

Nautical Stew from Supercook might sound like a fish recipe, but it’s a simply-prepared beef stew ideal for those cooking in a yachting galley, or people like me who wanted to cook something with minimal preparation while the wife was away.

Stewing beef is simmered on the hob with onions, paprika, canned tomatoes, baked beans, brandy and fresh sliced red pepper, not tinned as in the recipe.  I served it with garlic bread.

I opened a bottle of Lidl Minervois 2012, a medium-bodied French red blend of Syrah and Grenache. It was juicy with raspberry and blackcurrant fruits and someIMG_0597 spiciness.  A good match with the meal.

A Lovely Gigondas is Excellent with Delia’s Peppered Steak

We were looking for a recipe to pair with a bottle of Gigondas we had and thought peppered steak would work well.  We found Entrecôte Steak with Creme Fraiche and Cracked Pepper Sauce on Delia Online. We had some rib-eye steaks available so used them instead of Entrecôte or Sirloin.

The steaks were pan-fried with a reduced fresh beef stock, Cognac, crushed black peppercorns and crème fraîche.  As suggested by Delia, we served with a jacket potato and a leafy salad. This superb recipe deserved a decent bottle of wine.

We opened our bottle of Tesco’s Finest Gigondas 2009, a full-bodied French red from the Southern Rhône and a blend of Syrah and Grenache.  We savoured its berry fruits, pepperiness and smooth vanilla spiciness with the steak and thought this lovely wine was 2014-04-25 18.59.40an excellent match with the meal.

Finding a Decent Red Wine Pairing with a Slow-Cooked Beef and Barley Stew Proves Difficult

For a warming winter meal we tried Beef with Barley and Mushrooms from the Slow Cook Book.  This is braising steak slow cooked with bouquet garni, beef stock, carrots, celery, mushrooms and pearl barley. We served this with mashed potatoes and crusty bread.

Earthy flavours and we thought the earthiness of a Pinot Noir would fit the bill, so we tried a bottle of Brancott Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011, a medium-bodied New Zealand red from Costco. Nothing wrong with this wine, but it clashed horribly and was quickly set aside.

Next up was a bottle of Chateau Rouquette sur Mer, La Clape 2011, a medium-bodied Lanquedoc red blend IMG_0406IMG_0408from the Wine Society.

This was smooth, rich with red fruits and slightly peppery.  This was also a good wine but it proved no more than an adequate match with the meal.

All in all a disappointing food and wine pairing experience and frankly we found the flavours of the dish somewhat muted.  We will not be doing this one again.

A Rich Corbières is Very Good with Coq au Vin

We cooked Supercook’s Coq au Vin (Chicken Cooked in Red Wine), the world-famous traditional French casserole. The chicken is casseroled with bacon, Cognac, red wine, chicken stock, tomato puree, garlic, bouquet garni, mushrooms and onions.  We served this with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Last time we cooked this recipe we used chorizo instead of the bacon prescribed and the chorizo dominated the flavours. We much prefer the original.

This deserves a decent red wine to accompany it and we opened a bottle of Domaine Baillat Rouge – Corbières 2010, a southern French red from the Wine SocietyIMG_0354.JPG (2).  This rich and full wine is a blend of Syrah, Carignan and Grenache and we found it to be spicy, peppery, with red and black fruits, although the latter predominated. It had a smooth finish and was a very good match with the meal.